Second bear in less than a week killed in Whistler 

Marks 11th bear destroyed by conservation officers in the resort this year

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO - TRAGIC END A male bear (not pictured) was destroyed by conservation officers Saturday, Nov. 29, the second killed in the last week.
  • FILE PHOTO
  • TRAGIC END A male bear (not pictured) was destroyed by conservation officers Saturday, Nov. 29, the second killed in the last week.

A long-time problem bear was killed by the Conservation Officer Service (COS) early Sunday, Nov. 30, the second bear destroyed in the resort in less than a week.

The male bear was reported in a Marketplace dumpster before conservation officers attended and destroyed it.

Earlier this week the bear had also entered the storage room of the Main Street Dominos Pizza location and received a food reward.

Whistler Get BearSmart Society executive director Sylvia Dolson said two bags of garbage were left unsecured outside the dumpster at the time, which her husband helped clean up after the bear had accessed the attractants.

The animal had a history of conflict dating back to November 2013, was previously relocated four times, and had been slated for destruction since early last month, when it entered a house in Blueberry.

"The bear was pushing on the door to try to get in — the level of that behaviour is obviously extreme," said Sgt. Peter Busink with the COS.

"It was important that we capture the bear as soon as possible."

Authorities killed another bear on Monday, Nov. 24 when it entered a White Gold home after being attracted to a recycling box left outside. A tenant was issued a $230 fine for failing to properly secure attractants.

BearSmart has pushed for communal bear-proof dumpsters to be placed in subdivisions around Whistler to previous municipal councils, but the idea never gained traction.

"It's the only thing we haven't done that has proven effective," Dolson said. "If you look at Canmore, (Alta.), the national parks — where they have dramatically reduced incidents — they all have communal waste systems."

Although temperatures are dropping in the valley, with food sources still readily accessible, not all of Whistler's bears have gone into hibernation, Busink explained.

"People should know there are still bears out," he said. "They're going to be in a state of hypherphagia and are more motivated to get food than at any other point."

There have been several seasons where bears have remained active for much of the winter. The latest a resort bear has gone to den is Jan. 19, Dolson said.

Yesterday's incident marks the 11th confirmed bear death in the resort this year, although another bear was shot by police last month before escaping the scene, and is now presumed dead.

According to figures provided by BearSmart, 252 bears have been destroyed in Whistler since 1990 as a result of largely preventable human-caused conflict. There are currently around 50 bears living in the Whistler area.

The COS urged the public once again to properly secure all their attractants, including recycling bins and bird feeders. Visit www.bearsmart.com for more information.

All wildlife encounters should be reported to the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

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